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Colin Powell studies the presidential fields, again

February 9, 2008 | 12:12 am

The man who resisted considerable public pressure to run for president himself as a Republican back in 1996 is still not ready to endorse anyone in 2008.

But Colin Powell, former general for President Bush I and former secretary of state for President Bush II, gave Wolf Blitzer on CNN some hints about his thinking during a Friday interview. One of them: he may vote for a Democrat or independent, which he said last summer on "Meet the Press." Here's what he said Friday:

I am watching this race with the greatest of interest, and I know all of the leading candidates. Now, I don't know Mr. Huckabee as well as I know Senator McCain and Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, but I am watching this.

And I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years. A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America.

Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years. I am going to be looking for the candidate that seems to me to be leading a party that is fully in sync with the candidate, and a party that will also reflect America's goodness and America's vision.

And I will be looking for the candidate that I think will be the most competent candidate. The one who can deal with problems and bring the government together with the Congress to solve these problems.And so I know them all. I am a Republican, but I am keeping my options open at the moment. 

And I am in touch with the candidates. And anybody who wants to talk to me about an issue, I'll do so.  But sooner or later, as any other American, I will make my choice.

Hmm, a party "fully in sync with the candidate" and "We've lost a lot in recent years..." Let's see, which party could he possibly be thinking about?

--Andrew Malcolm